Tuesday, July 23, 2013

10 Things I've Learned from Teaching...

I'm excited to link up with Miss Kindergarten for this fun linky!
I've been reading everyone's posts and have loved to get to know more about my favorite bloggers.

Always treat the secretary and custodian with respect and courtesy. Manners go a long way when dealing with people you work with and in this case when you need something, chances are you will need help from one of these two people. Stay on their good sides and life will be MUCH better. Robyn and I always go in together on gifts for our secretary and custodian for Christmas and End of School. We also bring the secretary flowers for the start of the school year, every year. We both love her and she is definitely one of my school moms. She loves our kids, knows what is going on in our lives, and gives us a ton of motherly advice. 

Start each day with a smile because your attitude will reflect your student's attitude. What I mean is that when you greet your students in the hallway each morning do it with a smile. Even if you had no sleep because your infant was up all night, you had a horrible ride into school, or you realize your shoes don't match, let the students know you are happy to be at school and you are happy THEY are at school with you. Sometimes you are the only positive person in his/her life and you need to make them feel safe, secure, and welcome.

Get to know the parents right away. Start off the year right by introducing yourself to parents; whether it be through open house, parent night, a note home, or a phone call. Parents talk and you'd rather have them talk about how smart, welcoming, and nice you were than what a stranger you've been. This year I am considering a class Facebook page for parent/teacher communication. I would have the parents sign a waver to allow pictures of their students up and have only parents allowed as "followers" to the page. I could post pictures, videos, and update it regularly. Our school has teacher websites, but they are a PITA. There is no space to upload pictures or videos and it takes forever to load. Has anyone tried a Facebook parent page? Likes? Dislikes?

Take risks! How are you going to know what your students can do if you don't push them to the limits? How will you know your limits if you don't push yourself? This is one of the million reasons why I love to read and collaborate with teachers through blogging. I love the ideas I find because I am constantly learning and trying new things. I love trying out new apps, technology, ways of teaching, and assessing ideas. Everyone learns differently so getting feedback from students is a must.

It's okay to fail. Robyn and I start a lot of crazy projects, but do they always work? Nope. One of my favorite things about planning with her is that I am usually behind, while she is one or two days ahead of me. When she messes up, goes back and reflects, and thinks of changes she would have made...I get to try out the lesson the new way. Since we both only teach Reading & Writing we teach the same lesson 2X a day, obviously the second time it is usually better. When I see low test scores on a topic I thought I covered completely, I don't give up, I just reteach in a different way. Like I mentioned before, everyone learns differently.

 Ask for help! Robyn says, "Asking for help saved her career." That's probably cause it lead her to me...obviously I am her savior. hahaha :) Really though, there are four 4th grade Reading/Writing teachers in our school and we meet and collaborate regularly. Three of us have been teaching for the same amout of time, while the other has been teaching for 30+ years. What we have learned from the veteran teacher is immeasurable! She offers to help anytime we ask and is truly an amazing teacher!

Be flexible...period...the end!
I can't even begin to tell you how many times in a year assemblies popped up, snow storms and hurricanes hit us, students were out sick, surprise observations happened, or one of our kids were sick and we had to stay home with them. Things happen...write your plans in pencil.

You gotta make time to laugh and joke around. I am cooped up in the room all day teaching the same topic twice in a row with a short prep and ever shorter lunch, so I need the laugh just as much as they do. Laughing relieves stress, builds bonds, confidence, and makes life much more enjoyable.

Eat fast! My husband is a teacher as well. We chow down during dinner before our three year old even gets one piece in her mouth. She doesn't understand why we eat so fast. When you have thirty minutes to walk to the cafe, heat your food, chat, eat your food, use the bathroom, make last minute copies, return phone calls to parents or doctors, and make it out to recess duty before getting yelled at by the lunch ladies for being late, you learn to swallow food whole!

Love your job! Not everyone is cut out to be a teacher. I got my job mid year after the teacher before me was forced to resign. I was lucky to fall into the job and have been lucky ever since. If you don't love what you do, the kids will eat you alive. People can tell you love your job through your classroom, your lessons, your smile, they way you dress, and the passion in your voice. When you get down on yourself for something not going right, getting a bad review, colliding with a negative parent, having a tough student in your class, or having a problem with administration...think about why you took the job and what led you to be a teacher. Think about how lucky you are to have a job and be working with kids who worship you. That should put things back into perspective for you!

If you made it to the end...I will leave you with a funny ha ha :) 


  1. #9- oh my gosh, that is so unfortunately true!! I wonder sometimes why I get a belly-ache after eating. Probably because I swallow my food whole!!!
    ideas by jivey
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  2. I completely agree with #1! I have moved around a lot and at each school the custodian and secretary are the first 2 friends I make.

  3. Thanks for the wonderful ideas/advice! I love #8. I try to make it a point to joke around with my students. Laughing just makes things better.

    Cowgills Corner

  4. # 1 is SO true! These people take care of you if you take care of them. And never underestimate the fountain of information that you can get from them if you have a great relationship!

  5. Every single one of your ideas is so true! I especially agree that it is important to have positive connections with parents early in the year. It makes those more difficult phone calls easier later on.

    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

  6. Hi Pinkadots Elementary...LOVE your name! We have nominated you for a Liebster Award! You are SOOOO close to that #200!!! Hop on over to 2 Super Teachers to check out our questions. We look forward to getting to know you and hope you are having a super summer!!!

    Victoria & Tricia♥
    2 Super Teachers


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